President Donald Trump has recently escalated his criticism of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), dismissing the possibility of the two forming a political alliance in the 2024 presidential race. Trump has blasted DeSantis’ record, characterizing him as “bad on education,” “bad on COVID,” and highlighting his votes against Social Security and Medicare.
Trump recalled DeSantis’ first run for governor in 2018, stating that he endorsed the struggling candidate, significantly increasing his poll numbers. However, despite DeSantis’ soaring popularity among Republicans and a record-breaking re-election victory in November, Trump believes DeSantis cannot win a national election.
— New York Post (@nypost) March 25, 2023
The former president’s campaign has warned that those working for DeSantis’ potential presidential campaign will not be welcomed by the Trump campaign or in the Trump White House. This move indicates a growing rivalry between the two politicians, as Trump insiders have said, “It’s a time for choosing.”
DeSantis’ team is increasingly concerned about the impact of Trump’s campaigning statements. The governor has not yet declared his candidacy for the 2024 presidential race. He is reportedly hesitant to engage in a public dispute with Trump. DeSantis’ wife, Casey, is said to be particularly reluctant for her husband to participate in a mud fight with the former president.
Some GOP strategists argue that DeSantis must demonstrate his ability to fight to attract voters interested in his candidacy but also want to see him stand up to Trump. GOP strategist Sarah Longwell says, “There’s no going around Trump, just through.”
Recent polling data from the Morning Consult tracking poll shows Trump significantly ahead of DeSantis among Republican primary voters, with 54% supporting Trump compared to 26% for DeSantis. This marks the Florida governor’s lowest level of support in the survey since December.
In an interview with Newsmax, Trump defended his criticism of DeSantis, stating that he needs to get the word out about the governor’s record. He dismissed the idea of DeSantis as a potential running mate, saying, “I think that would be a very unlikely alliance.”
Trump has also accused DeSantis of being a “disciple of Paul Ryan,” the former House speaker who had a falling out with Trump. The former president claims Ryan is now pushing DeSantis to oppose him, which he views as a liability.
As the 2024 presidential race begins to take shape, the rivalry between Trump and DeSantis is becoming increasingly apparent. Trump’s attacks on DeSantis and his campaign’s warning to those working for the Florida governor signal a growing divide within the Republican Party.